What is generally missing from most of this 100+ years of economic geology work, however, is identification of geological “signals” that can be followed to locate unknown mineralization in the district and in genetically related cases elsewhere. Painting an elaborate best efforts picture of the geological landscape and timescape containing economic mineralization is necessary but not sufficient to the task of discovering additional resources. This being the case, most of the geological literature concerning the Cripple Creek mining district could be said to be indifferently occupied with relatively unuseful geological “noise” rather than much more useful mineralization “signals”.
Alan Greenspan, former Federal Reserve chairman, could have been a spokesman for the authors of most economic geology report work over the last century or so when he said: “I guess I should warn you, if I turn out to be particularly clear, you've probably misunderstood what I've said.”
I was able to find two exceptions in the Cripple Creek literature, exceptions that do clearly provide useful exploration “signal”. The first is the 1935 Loughlin and Koschmann paper showing the basement structural contours beneath the apparent diatreme fill containing most of the gold mineralization of the Cripple Creek mining district. The information in this rare, out-of-print report dovetails nicely with the exploration geochemistry-oriented US Geological Survey Professional Paper 625A (1968) by Gott et al. By combining the USGS geochemical data with structural contours, with knowledge of the location and amounts of historical gold production, and using exploration geochemical theory related to metals mobility and metals precipitation, much can be seen that explains the location of known mineralization, and much can be hypothesized regarding the distribution yet undiscovered ore in the mining district. Note that most of this work was earlier accomplished by the authors of USGS Professional Paper 625A who also made much use of Loughlin and Koschmann (1935).